Preparing for pregnancy and a smoothie for fertility (not my recipe)

Here is what I am doing for the next three months (combined with yoga, meditation and exercise – walking mainly and weight training) as I prepare for a March FET at CCRM.

•    Taking a baby aspirin (low dose and coated)
•    Relaxing/mediation – going to a “healer” who also adjusts you as you lay there for up to three hours if you want – miracle find and so relaxing (only in ATL)
•    Acupuncture targeted at increasing fertility. I am going local and then heading to Dr. Wu in NYC (he is the best, well IMHO).  I am certain implantation occurred because of him last time…

Perhaps add in L arginine during the cycle (not before) to help with lining issues, doubling up on my vitamin D (everyone is low and it is a huge issue – forget calcium this is why we have such a huge problem with osteoporosis…)  On to the smoothie:
•    And last but not least, drinking Lori Bregman’s fertility smoothie everyday!
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Lori Bregman’s Fertility Smoothie

Ingredients (links are to Lori’s favorite products):
•    frozen mixed organic berries
•    almond or rice milk
•    protein powder (something natural and clean, without a lot of additives or soy)
•    2 shots of wheatgrass (I use a frozen one by Evergreen, but you can use powder or fresh shots instead)
•    maca root powder
•    acai berry 
•    mixed powered greens
•    royal jelly (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    bee pollen (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    liquid omegas

Instructions:
Read dose/serving information on back of each product. Mix everything together in a blender. Use more or less milk to achieve a desired consistency.

What it all Does: 
•    Powdered Greens, berries and acai: Feed and promote healthy cell growth and help nourish the blood.
•    Wheat grass: Lowers FSH levels, nourishes cells, helps restore hormone balance, and helps alkaline your PH levels, which makes it better for sperm to live in.
•    Maca root: Nourishes the entire endocrine system, enhances fertility and brings hormones into balance. Also increases sex drive, vitality and gives you tons of energy.
•    Royal jelly: Balances hormones, supports the endocrine system, helps raise estrogen levels in women, and helps increase sperm quality and testosterone levels in men.
•    Bee pollen: Contains high levels of vitamins, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, nourishes the ovaries, increases fertility, regulates the menstrual cycle and helps produce healthy eggs in women, and increases sperm count in men.
•    Protein powder: Repairs and builds healthy tissues.
•    Liquid omegas: Helps stabilize your moods, lowers inflammation in the body, increases blood flow to the uterus, regulates the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and cervical mucus in women, and increases sperm mobility in men.

If anyone has other ideas for FET prep or pregnancy prep for all ages or specific doctors, make a comment to help others…

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….and that was that.

I met with my RE today…when I called them yesterday to tell them about the scan at the hospital they decided that waiting til Monday would be a bad idea.

At this practice ultrasound technicians perform all the scans and the doctor is never present (which is a first for me). This particular technician is a nice woman but doesn’t like to get into the details – which, to be honest, annoys the hell out of me. I suppose she is just doing her job and would probably get in a bit of trouble for sharing the information with me ahead of my meeting with the doctor….but come on. I knew better than to quiz her so I asked only one question ” does it still have a heartbeat?” and she said, “I don’t think so, I’m sorry”. (“I don’t think so” – WTF?) Before the doctor came in to meet with me I started crying. I couldn’t help myself. It really pissed me off – the last thing I wanted to do is sit and cry in front of my doctor. Luckily I found a great little trick – if you are ever in a situation where you need to dry the tears up quickly just dig your fingernails into the palm of your hand. Works like a charm.

So….I’m no longer in limbo. A D&C is booked for Monday. I feel sad but relieved. The stress of wondering, waiting, hoping against hope was getting to me. My body is already indicating that something is not right – I’m starting to have light cramping. I just hope and pray that I don’t miscarry before Monday as that would not only be very unpleasant but I need the embryo to be tested. I want to know if it was a boy or a girl – and I want to information about its chromosomes.

Right now I feel worse for my husband. He is taking it hard. I think he is surprised by his reaction. But I suppose I’m not. We both got our hopes up. We sorted through Alex’s baby clothes, we decided where the baby would sleep, the nuchal scan was booked, we were in discussions about finding out the sex….we told all our friends….we contemplated and began loving something as much as we love our son…..but what we didn’t do is expect a result like this. And for good reason – gestational sac problems are not common. Only 1.9% of pregnancies will end with this result. I’m sad for us but I am even more sad for our son. He is such a good, happy, social boy and he deserves to have a brother or sister. The thought of him as an only child breaks my heart. And so….we’ll begin treatments again as soon as my body is back to normal.

I won’t give up – at least not now..

Decision!

Yesterday at the doctor’s appointment my RE told me that I would be released to my OB on December 22 which sent a shiver down my spine… I don’t have an OB here in Atlanta and judging from my requirements, there isn’t an OB in Atlanta who fits the bill.

Call me spoiled but I had the most amazing doctor with Alex. Her name is Janice Marks and she was recommended by my NYC RE. Knowing how worried I was about staying pregnant he recommended that I see Dr. Marks. In his words, “I’ve seen her operate and she takes command” – boy was he right! She is on top of everything, tests for everything, monitors your every move. In essence, she was neurotic about my pregnancy so that I could relax. When I asked my RE yesterday if he knew anyone like Dr. Marks in Atlanta he told me, “there is no other Dr. Marks – she is one of the best doctors I’ve ever worked with” (He previously worked at Lenox Hill with her).

So I called her…and she says she thinks we can do it. I’ll be going back and forth for important appointments like the first and second trimester screenings (the nuchal and that amnio) and then she will want to see me come to NYC around week 34 if all goes well. I’d be induced at 38 weeks.

It might be a little bit of a hassle – uprooting my son for a month…and once I deliver I’ll be far from home – but the relief I feel at knowing she will be in charge of my birth is so worth it.

Mind you, my friend called me today and in the course of conversation let it slip that one her friends had a miscarriage at 8 weeks….that brought me back to earth. This is not a done deal. Some might say I’m stupid for telling anyone let alone the internet but I’ve been through enough struggle, enough loss to understand that this is not something to be ashamed of nor is it something I can control. I’d rather share my journey with my friends and perhaps help someone else out there who is still finding her way through infertility. If I miscarry I’ll be fine – I have enough support and for that I am very grateful.

5 weeks 5 days

I don’t know – am I? I thought I was 6 weeks tomorrow but who am I to argue with my RE? Sorry for the lengthy absence but I’ve had nothing to say. In times of stress I tend to retreat and shut everyone out.

I was doing fine, actually. I fully intended to wait until Friday the 5th of December for my ultrasound but…I woke up this morning and scheduled an ultrasound. I KNEW it was too early but my curiosity and nervousness got the better of me. And, as expected, there was no heartbeat. All that could be seen was a gestational sac and a yolk sac. My RE assured me that this was completely normal and that early ultrasounds are discouraged for this very reason – it just causes more stress. He instructed the nurses to prohibit me from having another ultrasound until next week – which made me laugh. When I quizzed him about my need to do IVF in the future (I mean…IUI did work and IVF did not) he told me that I basically got lucky (I’m not sure I agree with him but that is another story). Then he rolled his eyes and reminded me that I should focus on the good news and not start planning for the failure.

Before some wise ass tells me to “think positive” and stop being so negative – I would like to say just one thing. It is easier to fall from a chair than a cloud. I read this on my IVF message board and couldn’t agree more. So back off and understand that my negative thinking is protective. Thanks. And to all my friends who call and email and worry about me – I’m fine. I just don’t feel like talking about it. I’ll be back soon, I promise.

My next ultrasound is scheduled for a week from today – Monday. I have absolutely no idea how I am going to keep my mind occupied but considering I have a very active toddler, I’m sure it won’t be hard.

Sperm.

Today we did our first of two sperm injections.  We had to take our son with us – which proved to be a huge nightmare.  I’m very sensitive to the feelings of my fellow infertiles and strongly believe that a child has no place in a fertility clinic.  It never really upset me but had I had several failed cycles, I don’t think I’d be able to bear seeing one at the doctor’s office.  Anyway – he came along for lack of child care options.  C and I took turns keeping him occupied and tried very hard not to let him tear the entire waiting room apart (no luck).  C gave his specimen and we then went to McDonald’s to wait for them to prepare the sperm – spin it free of white blood cells, crappy sperm, etc.  When we arrived back 2 hours later they were ready for me.  When I saw the nurse she said, “well your husband has a great sample for you – he has 85 million sperm ready here”.  My jaw nearly dropped to the ground.  85 million post wash!  That is 120 million pre wash – just insane.  Let me put it this way – you only need 20 million post wash for an IUI to have a good chance of being successful.  The nurse advised me not to tell him because, as she said, he would get a big head.  I agreed…but ended up telling him.  I’m not sure why I did this because I’d much rather have him believe that his sperm are the reason we are doing these procedures but, I guess it isn’t anymore!

On to the insemination, I normally don’t see my doctor during cycles – this is a large practice and the doctors all rotate for procedures.  Of course I know my doctor and have had many chats with him but I am just not used to spreading my legs and finding him down there – if you know what I mean.  It is so much easier when I don’t really know the person.  So, in walks Dr. S – who is rather young and handsome and all of a sudden I realized that I had not even bothered to make myself acceptable for viewing (to put it delicately).  The poor guy basically had my entire womanhood in all its glory right in his face – and I was cringing the entire time.  In the middle of the procedure – after he had inserted the speculum – he asked the nurse to hold down on my bladder as he was having trouble inserting the long tube into my uterus.  And then the nurse says, “oh be careful not to pee on the doctor”.

Oh darn – just what I had in mind to do.

I was so glad when that shit was over.

I was also glad that my doctor seemed stumped by my “excellent response” to low dose stims.  When I asked him what he thought about all of this and how it could benefit future IVF cycles should I not get pregnant he said he would have to have a think about it.  Well I already thought about it and came to the conclusion that I have spent thousands of dollars on medication and probably damaged perfectly good eggs because of a protocol that was all wrong for me.  Thanks doc.

So – IUI part 2 is in the morning.

Back to the present…

Two weeks ago I failed IVF #6.  It was a bit of a surprise for me but I’ll save that for another post.  Today I am day 8 of an IUI cycle (intrauterine insemination).  Normally I take a very high level of medication to stimulate my ovaries.  I’ve never been on any other protocol…so this time I decided to ask my RE to lower my dosage in half to see how I might respond.  So far it hasn’t been that bad.  I’m on stim day 6 (have not taken the meds yet) and I have four measurable follicles.  In fact, I’m quite pleased with this result.  At the end of this cycle (Friday or Saturday) I’ll get a trigger shot and C’s sperm will be injected – two times, a few hours before I ovulate and then again the next day.  Given our low rate of fertilization I don’t have high hopes but…you never know!  It is all about hope and I’m trying to muster some up.  In the meantime I am interviewing every IVF clinic in the Atlanta area.  So far I’ve learned one thing – I’m my own advocate.  Seems like the more you know the more you realize that this is just a crap shoot…you need to be on the right protocol of medications, have your body respond to those medications, have the Gods of fertilization on your side, a good thick lining and an normal embryo to implant in your uterus and continue to grow.  It really does surprise me, given all the factors involved, that pregnancy ever happens at all…and yet most of the world doesn’t need all this – they just have sex.  Remarkable!

If this cycle doesn’t work I’ll be having surgery in December to remove a polyp in my uterus..and then beginning IVF again in January.